Not all will finish up crossing the start line, but Race Chairman Bill BARTON is confident that the fleet will still hold a record number of between 225 and 240 yachts.
The amateur driven St. David's Lighthouse Division, (formerly called the Cruiser/Racers) leads the fleet with 147 applicants. The Cruiser Division, an amateur racing class for boats designed and used more for offshore passage making rather than racing, is the second largest with 61 registrations, followed by the Double-Handed Division with 22. The professional division (formerly called the Racing Division) competing for the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy, has 19 entries. The 'canting keel' Demonstration Division has four entries. There are a further 40 applicants who have yet to nominate the division they wish to enter. CLICK HERE for the full list.
1 April was the closing date for entries without incurring a penalty, but late applications will be considered up to 1700 local time on 15 May. The final date for submitting ORR and/or IRC Rating certificates is 1700 on 1 June. Acceptance of late entries and documentation is at the discretion of the Organizing Committee and will incur a substantial monetary penalty. Late entries can be submitted online HERE.
HRH The Princess Royal of Great Britain will be visiting Bermuda at the end of the Centennial Bermuda Race and will be the guest of honour at the Newport Bermuda Race prizegiving, to be held at Government House on Saturday 24 June. The Princess Royal is President of the Royal Yachting Association and sailing remains one of her many interests.
Her Royal Highness will stay at Government House and her programme will include other engagements on the island. She last visited Bermuda in 2001.
Since its inception in 1906, the Bermuda Race has continually evolved, changing with the times and taking a leadership role in shaping the sport of ocean racing. Driving this evolution is a focus on safety, fair racing and fun for the competitor. The Centennial Race brings with it a number of changes that will make for a great event and provide the best possible racing for the varied yachts that will make the dash across the Gulf Stream to the warm sunshine of Bermuda.
The first thing most competitors will notice that is new for 2006 is the use of two rating rules, - the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) and IRC. Each of these is new to the Bermuda Race. The Offshore Racing Rule builds on the velocity prediction programme technology of IMS and AMERICAP and is a rule expressly designed for offshore distance racing with built in stability measurement for safety screening. IRC is an international rule that is widely used in parts of Europe and is seeing adoption in races across the USA. With many sailors expressing interest in one rule or the other, the 2006 Newport Bermuda Race is making use of both. ORR is used throughout the fleet, in part to allow stability screening. Some divisions are being dual scored, in which case we require or encourage captains to submit both rating certificates, as prizes in those divisions will be offered under both rules.
Ample information on both rules is available on their respective websites: ORR - www.offshorerace.org and IRC - www.us-irc.org. For yachts holding a previous IMS or AMERICAP certificate, the migration to ORR should be easy, as the new rule makes use of the same measurement data. IRC requires a simpler measurement process and certified measurers are available to assist in getting an IRC endorsed certificate. US SAILING handles applications for both rules,
An exciting development for 2006 will be the use of satellite tracking devices for all yachts. This technology is made possible through the generosity of Coldwell Banker and will allow families, friends and the media to follow the progress of individual yachts within the fleet.
Yachts competing in the Cruiser Division are now allowed one cruising spinnaker in their inventory for the first time. This follows a recent survey which showed that most of these yachts already own one of these sails, and will assist them when the winds swing aft.
A new Carlton Mitchell/Finisterre Trophy will be awarded to the yacht with the best corrected time in the Cruiser Division. The trophy takes its name from the skipper and yacht that won the Bermuda Race three consecutive times from 1956 to 1962 - a feat yet to be repeated.
Entries in the Demonstration Division, which has attracted some of the world's most advanced ocean racing yachts, will this year be racing for the Royal Mail Trophy.
The Race also sees the inauguration of a new trophy donated by SAIL Magazine for the yacht with the best combined performance in the 2005 Marion Bermuda Race and the 2006 Newport Bermuda Race. Qualifying yachts must have competed in last year's Marion Bermuda Race and be competing in the Cruiser Division of this year's Newport Bermuda Race.
Noted sailor, commentator and filmmaker, Gary JOBSON is serving as Honorary Chairman of the Centennial Newport Bermuda Race. JOBSON is a past competitor and will be sailing again in 2006, this time with a camera in hand to document the Race's 100th anniversary. With videographers aboard several yachts, The Jobson Sailing Team will document the race and create a film to air on cable television. The film, which will touch on the Race's history and the challenge of the 2006 running, is presented by Coldwell Banker.
Noted marine artist John MACGOWAN has created a stunning oil painting commemorating 100 years of racing to Bermuda. The work depicts the St. David's Lighthouse bathed in tropical sunshine as yachts make the approach to the finish line. To give a sense to the passage of time, the yachts are from a variety of eras, from the early years to the present. Copies of the painting are available for sale through the 'Race Gear' link on the Bermuda Race website - www.bermudarace.com.